A London neurosurgeon who was killed riding his motorbike was an “extraordinary” individual who helped save many lives, his family and colleagues said today.
Jan Bodnar, 37, who worked at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, died when his orange Honda collided with an Audi car as he rode to a show at Duxford airfield and museum in Cambridgeshire.
A memorial service was held on Monday at Charing Cross hospital, where he first worked when he arrived in the capital in 2010. There was an “outpouring of affection” for Mr Bodnar, a registrar who treated hundreds of trauma, neurosurgical and spinal injury patients across Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Mark Wilson, a consultant neurosurgeon at St Mary’s, said Mr Bodnar had a particular affinity with injured bikers.
“It became apparent from the way everyone was talking how much he was appreciated by his patients,” Mr Wilson said. “He was an excellent, promising neurosurgeon, loved by his colleagues and his family.”
Dr Mohammed Awad, another colleague, said: “He was a larger than life character with a great aptitude for work and play. He was an extremely capable neurosurgeon and many people owe their lives and wellbeing to his skills.”
Born in Slovakia, Mr Bodnar had a life-long love of aircraft and the intricacies of model-making – which he used to sharpen his surgical skills. He had run 10 marathons and enjoyed diving, rock-climbing, gliding and flying.
Paramedics and the East Anglian Air Ambulance attended but Mr Bodnar was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are appealing for witnesses to the July 12 collision, which happened on the A505 between Baldock and Royston.
Mr Bodnar’s sister Barbara Diop–Bodnarova said: “He specialised in neurosurgery because he had a passion for things that could not be explained and neurosurgery is possibly one of the most difficult areas of medicine. The human brain fascinated him and he loved the challenge of it all.”
She added: “We have dozens of aircraft models he made when he was a young boy and he continued to do it as an adult. He was travelling to Duxford to a show when the collision occurred. He was so passionate about aircraft.
“Jan was so talented, he loved to write poetry, travel and take photographs. He really embraced life and had many interests. Words cannot describe how much we will miss him.”
His father Jozef Bodnár said: “Janko was an extraordinary and beloved human being.”